Dr. Saturday - NCAAF

Snap judgments on Saturday's best.

Superlatives: In which South Carolina’s defense builds a bridge to the end zone

Superlatives: In which South Carolina’s defense builds a bridge to the end zone ENGINEERING • Melvin Ingram, Antonio Allen, Jadeveon Clowney and Stephon Gilmore, South Carolina.
Left to its own devices, the South Carolina offense had about as much chance of matching Georgia's pace Saturday as Steve Spurrier has of landing the cover of Men's Fitness: The Gamecocks were outgained by more than 100 total yards and generated just two touchdown drives to Georgia's five.

But who needs offense when the defense and special teams are perfectly capable of manufacturing points of their own? Between Ingram's 68-yard rumble on a fake punt in the second quarter, Allen's 25-yard interception return in the third quarter and Ingram's recovery of a fumble created by Clowney in the fourth, Carolina manufactured three non-offensive touchdowns in a 45-42 win and did all the heavy lifting on a fourth, putting the offense at the UGA two-yard line after a long fumble return by Gilmore. In two weeks, the Gameocks have now scored five touchdowns on defense and special teams and set up four more for the offense on drives that began inside the opposing 35-yard line.

Superlatives: In which South Carolina’s defense builds a bridge to the end zoneSuperlatives: In which South Carolina’s defense builds a bridge to the end zone AGRICULTURE • Isaiah Crowell, Georgia, and De'Anthony Thomas, Oregon.
Besides Clowney (who also recorded his first sack against the Bulldogs), two more of the most promising specimens in the 2011 recruiting crop are already beginning to bear fruit. Crowell, suddenly finding himself on a second-half depth chart that read:

1. Isaiah Crowell
2. Isaiah Crowell
3. Isaiah Crowell

…rose to the challenge by ripping Carolina for 158 total yards and two touchdowns as a rusher and receiver. Meanwhile, back in Eugene, fellow freshman De'Anthony Thomas also blossomed as a multi-purpose threat, rebounding from last week's two-fumble debut against LSU with 204 all-purpose yards on 13 touches and a pair of touchdown catches covering 69 and 24 yards, respectively, in the Ducks' 69-20 incineration of Nevada. Local rumors suggest that number also includes a 62-yard run on one of Thomas' eight carries, but this has not been confirmed as technology has not advanced to the point of being able to capture the "Black Mamba" on film.

Superlatives: In which South Carolina’s defense builds a bridge to the end zone COMMUNICATIONS • Tyler Bray, Tennessee.
It was the second-year stars' turn to shine in Knoxville, where Bray had a clear, direct line to fellow sophomores Justin Hunter and Da'Rick Rogers at all times in a 45-23 win over Cincinnati. Between them, Hunter and Rogers combined for 256 yards and three touchdowns on 20 catches, the lion's share of a 405-yard, four-touchdown effort that left Bray as the most efficient passer in the SEC ahead of next week's coming-of-age trip to Florida.

Superlatives: In which South Carolina’s defense builds a bridge to the end zone CARPENTRY • Iowa Corn Growers Association.
Faced with unenviable and unexpected task of re-imagining the Cy-Hawk Trophy for the second time after the initial makeover was roundly rejected last month, Iowa Corn managed to come up with a perfectly respectable "interim" effort for Saturday's Iowa-Iowa State clash in Ames — only to see it instantly destroyed by the Cyclones in the aftermath of a 44-41 upset in triple overtime:

Well, you know what they say: It's when hundreds of rowdy college students aren't destroying things that you should really be worried.

Superlatives: In which South Carolina’s defense builds a bridge to the end zoneSuperlatives: In which South Carolina’s defense builds a bridge to the end zone FAMILY DYNAMICS • Zach Maynard and Keenan Allen, California.
It's entirely possible that, if not for his blood ties to Allen, Maynard would have never been recruited to Berkeley, and may not have emerged so definitively from a four-man battle for Cal's starting quarterback job in the spring. But if there was a slight dash of nepotism in Maynard's rise to the top of the depth chart, it paid off in spades Saturday at Colorado, where Maynard and Allen connected five times for 97 yards in a 36-33 win — including the game-winning touchdown on the final play of overtime, Maynard's fourth touchdown pass of the game.

Superlatives: In which South Carolina’s defense builds a bridge to the end zone CHEMISTRY • Tyler Hansen and Paul Richardson, Colorado.
Even in victory, the Bears' half-brothers couldn't match the mind-meld between Colorado quarterback Tyler Hansen and receiver Paul Richardson, who hooked up 11 times for 284 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the second half covering 66 and 78 yards, respectively, in a span of a little over two minutes. That was good enough to shatter a bunch of school records, but not to keep the Buffaloes from falling to 0-2.

Honorable Mention: On Friday night, Arizona State's Brock Osweiler and Aaron Pflugrad connected eight times for 180 yards and two touchdowns in an overtime win over Missouri, a little over 24 hours after Oklahoma State's prolific pass-catch tandem, Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon, put on their usual clinic for a national audience in a 37-14 win over Arizona:

Superlatives: In which South Carolina’s defense builds a bridge to the end zone LOGISTICS • Marshall Lobbestael, Washington State.
Filling in for injured starter Jeff Tuel, Lobbestael and backup Connor Halliday combined to distribute seven touchdown passes among six different receivers in a 59-7 rout over UNLV, pushing the Cougars to 2-0 for the first time since 2002. Lobbestael and Halliday found 11 different receivers altogether, seven of whom brought in at least one pass covering at least 20 yards.

Superlatives: In which South Carolina’s defense builds a bridge to the end zone PERFORMING ARTS • Denard Robinson, Michigan.
On paper, Robinson completed fewer than half his passes and was picked off three times, while leading the Wolverines to just seven points over the first three quarters of an overwrought, under-written melodrama against Notre Dame. In the fourth quarter, though, Robinson turned the entire production into an acclaimed one-man show, drawing raves for a performance that included one touchdown run, three touchdown passes and not one but two go-ahead touchdown drives in the final two minutes of a 35-31 classic that might redefine the genre.

Superlatives: In which South Carolina’s defense builds a bridge to the end zone

Superlatives: In which South Carolina’s defense builds a bridge to the end zone MEDIA CRITICISM • Face-palming Michigan fan.
He knows your tricks to manipulate the narrative, ESPN, and he does not approve:

Did the same cameras come back to Mr. Facepalm after either of Michigan's subsequent touchdowns to take the lead? Where's the emotional balance, ESPN?

Superlatives: In which South Carolina’s defense builds a bridge to the end zoneCATCHES OF THE YEAR OF THE WEEK
First prize this week goes to Tennessee's Da'Rick Rogers, who lost his helmet in a Bearcat sandwich and hung on for the touchdown, anyway:

Next, there's Rutgers junior Mohamed Sanu, whose career afternoon in a 24-22 loss at North Carolina included this one-handed gem for the Scarlet Knights' first touchdown:

And the video may be a little sketchy, but if you need Hi-Def to appreciate this high-flying, one-handed snare by TCU's Antoine Hicks, you have either very poor eyes or no soul:

Or else you're just an Air Force still a little bitter about a 35-19 home loss, which is... acceptable.

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Matt Hinton is on Facebook and Twitter: Follow him @DrSaturday.

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